Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"There's No One Quite Like Grandma": Britain's Shameless Retreat From The John Lennon Assassination

It's December 1980. John Lennon has just been murdered. A generation's hopes and dreams have been obliterated for all eternity. What are you in the mood to hear, Great Britain?

Why, the St. Winifred's School Choir's "There's No One Quite Like Grandma," of course!

Nothing to cheer up a grieving nation like cloying, saccharine nostalgia. Turns out there's only so much eulogizing a listening public can take. "There's No One Quite Like Grandma" pushed Lennon's "(Just Like) Starting Over" from the top spot, only to be replaced a couple of weeks later by a re-release of "Imagine," which was followed by Lennon's "Woman," and even Roxy Music's cover of "Jealous Guy." That's two straight months of Lennon, broken up by "There's No One Quite Like Grandma."

What happened, UK? I'm guessing that, for a couple of weeks there, the Baby Boomer generation was so depressed, and so unenthusiastic about buying records, that all the old ladies and little girlies swooped in and took over. Then, when all the Baby Boomers heard the kind of song that Lennon and the Beatles (well, maybe not McCartney) had pretty much sought out to destroy, they were aghast and quickly rectified the situation. "There's No One Quite Like Grandma" is basically the song that would have been playing in the dreams of Lennon's notoriously proper and stuffy guardian Aunt Mimi.

Still, you have to say that this song perfectly captures that moment of complete and utter culture shock. If you could put "La-la-la, everything's just like it always was, let's forget rock 'n' roll ever happened" into a tune, it would be this tune. And for the life of me, I simply can't fathom why "There's No One Quite Like Grandma" never caught on in the States!

While creepy enough on its own, the song is rendered even more disturbing by this Top of the Pops clip, in which a collection of Britain's most sickeningly adorable children have been gathered together and forced to stand on stage in matching pink outfits. I half expect the lead little girl to hold out a bowl and ask, "Please sir, may I have some more?" Either that, or her cranium to start spinning around while she spews vomit and shouts "Let Jesus fuck you! Let Jesus fuck you!"

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how twisted you are, the version of the clip featuring an introduction by posthumously outed pedophile Jimmy Savile is no longer on YouTube, although you can still see his name in the credits. Why does it not seem terribly out of the question that one or two of these little schoolchildren would have received a traumatic "Christmas gift" from Uncle Jimmy?

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